Show Me Your Shelves! Brings Black Art to Public Libraries

August 7, 2019

© Kashina Dowridge

“Show Me Your Shelves!” is a dynamic exhibition designed to foster artistic dialogue between Black artists from Germany and the United States. The exhibit is featured in Detroit, Michigan and Houston, Texas this year as a part of Wunderbar Together.

The project brings together 8 artists from both countries, including Bree Gant (Detroit), Jennifer Harge (Detroit), James Gregory Atkinson (Frankfurt), Janine Jembere (Berlin), Regina Agu (Houston), Tay Butler (Houston), Anike Joyce Sadiq (Stuttgart), and Amelia Umuhire (Berlin). Each artist’s piece within the project reflects on existing common structures, experiences, differences between German Afro-diasporic cultures and lifestyles and African American perspectives.

“Show Me Your Shelves!” also examines libraries as a common space. The first exhibition of the project is taking place July 17th – August 18th in several branches of the Detroit Public Library, opening as part of Detroit Art Week (July 17th – 21st ) featuring works by Gant, Harge, Atkinson, and Jembere. At the end of October, the exhibition will move to the Gregory School Library in Houston, Texas with exhibitions by Agu, Butler, Sadiq, and Umuhire.

In addition to the exhibitions in Detroit and Houston, a further part of the project “Show me your Shelves” hosted two workshops, including a library workshop with librarians from Detroit and Berlin as well as a writing workshop with young arts journalists from the US and Germany.  Contemporary And (C&) published a special print edition of their magazine developed by the young writers. The issue, entitled “This Is Not About You,” tackles “questions about Afro-German and African American experiences” that were brought up in the writing workshop in Detroit in December 2018. The issue was launched on July 17 as a part of the opening event of Detroit Art Week.

Contemporary And (C&) is an art magazine and a dynamic space for issues and information on contemporary art from Africa and its Global Diaspora published in English and French. Contemporary And America Latina (AL) focusses on the connections between Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa and is published in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Find out more about the magazine and Show Me Your Shelves! here.


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